Dividend.com: Paychex Stubbed

The company said profits fell amid slower growth due to the economic slowdown.
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Alliant Energy Pre-Announces a Possible Earnings Miss, but Sees Dividend Hike in 2009

Alliant Energy

(LNT) - Get Report

just announced it expects to be at the low end, or slightly below the earnings guidance for 2009.

The company is also announcing guidance for 2009 earnings from continuing operations of $2.18-$2.48 per share. The company's board of directors has approved an increase in its 2009 expected annual common stock dividend to $1.50 per share from the current annual dividend of $1.40 per share. Payment of the 2009 quarterly dividends will be subject to the actual dividend declaration by the board of directors, which is expected in January for the initial quarterly dividend.

We have avoided shares of Alliant since our early June coverage began, when the stock traded at $36.97. The company has a 4.66% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $30.02. The company is approaching some key technical levels in the $24 to $25 area. If this fails to hold, then there is potential for a move down to the $15 to $16 area. We did get good news about a dividend hike, so we'll be watching to see if shares can consolidate here.

Alliant Energy is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

Pentair Cuts Profit Forecast and Will Cut 10% of Its Workforce

Pentair

(PNR) - Get Report

just announced it will cut more than 10% of its work force, or about 1,600 jobs, due to a faster-than-expected drop-off in demand and consumer spending.

Management cited the speed and impact of sluggish demand in global markets and consumer spending has had a deeper impact on its orders and sales volumes than the company had previously expected.

The company now sees EPS in the next quarter to come in a range of 40 cents to 42 cents, below previous guidance of 52 cents to 55 cents. The consensus estimates are for 48 cents.

We have avoided shares of Pentair since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $36.32. The company has a 2.73% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $24.89. The company appears to have decent support in the $22 to $24 area here. If that fails to hold again, then the $12 to $14 price area would be the next true area of major support. We do think the company is in a lucrative space, but until shares stabilize, we would look elsewhere for investment opportunities.

Pentair is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Lennar Still Delivering Losses for Now

Lennar

(LEN) - Get Report

reported a fourth-quarter loss of $811 million, or $5.12 per share, compared with a loss of $1.25 billion, or $7.92 per share, a year earlier.

The company's revenue dropped 41% in the period ended Nov. 30 to $1.28 billion from $2.18 billion a year ago on fewer home deliveries and a 10% drop in the average sales price of delivered homes.

We have avoided shares of Lennar since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $15.23. The company has a 1.56% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $10.25. The shares of Lennar have nearly tripled in the last month so we would be careful to chase the stock here. We think a pullback to the $7 to $8 level makes more sense, if an investor needs to have a homebuilder in his or her's portfolio. The demand has not come back yet, despite all the announcements from the Fed, so we would use a bit of restraint when it comes to the homebuilders.

Lennar is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.8 out of 5 stars.

Paychex Results Sheds Light on Business Environment

Paychex

(PAYX) - Get Report

reported late Wednesday that its second quarter profit fell nearly 5% to $140.2 million, or 39 cents a share, compared with net income of $147.1 million, or 40 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Revenue was up 3.2% to $524.2 million from $507.8 million, but below analyst expectations of $533 million. The company revealed some good stats on how businesses are being affected by the current economic crisis: Companies going out of business increased 12%, new business starts declined 13% and checks per client decreased 1.5% -- easily attributable to layoffs.

Going forward, management expects revenue growth of 2% to 4% and net income decline of 7% to 5%.

We had removed shares of Paychex from our "Recommended" list on Oct. 8, when the stock was trading at $28.91. The company has a 4.66% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $26.61. We think the stock is getting interesting here, especially if we get a pull-back to the next technical support area of $22 to $23. We'll keep subscribers posted.

Paychex

is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.